NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

May 17, 2013

Locals disappointed by state's beach repairs

Not enough sand taken to fix problem areas

SALISBURY — Too small an effort to fix a huge problem is how many are defining the state’s recent efforts to restore the storm-ravaged shores of Salisbury Beach.

Frustrating is another word used to describe recent dealings with state Department of Conservation and Recreation on the extent of repair needed. The agency, which owns the town’s entire 3.8 miles of shoreline, recently completed its repair of the devastating erosion wrought by February and March storms. But it fell far short of getting the job done, according to several town officials.

The state harvested only about 15,000 cubic yards of sand from a large sandbar at Salisbury’s north jetty, redistributing it along the beach in approved areas, especially at Salisbury Beach Center. Frustration has grown because there’s a lot more than 15,000 cubic yards of sand in the sandbar, but DCR insisted it could only harvest that amount. Most, even DCR engineer Darryl Forgione, knew from the start that allotment wouldn’t go very far.

In the end, there wasn’t enough sand to repair many of the 22 hardest hit hot spots. A prime area left untouched was the dune system abutting private homes between access ways six and eight, where damage from the February blizzard and three-day March coastal storm was the worst.

“(DCR’s) plan didn’t harvest enough sand, and that’s a tragedy,” Town Manager Neil Harrington. “It’s a ridiculous situation. There’s still sand accumulating at the jetty that they could harvest. I know we need more sand.”

Harrington thought the agency didn’t do any more because it didn’t have the money.

Yesterday, DCR spokeswoman SJ Port said the recent project cost the agency at total of $165,620 — $36,620 for design and permitting and $129,000 for the actual construction. Money came from the agency’s Rivers and Harbors Program through its Waterways Program.

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